Cape Town - Two massive Emirates A380 jets are set to take to the skies this week, wearing special livery in support of United for Wildlife, a global collaboration that unites the efforts of the world’s leading wildlife charities in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.
The beautiful livery, featuring some of the planet’s wildlife threatened by poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, aims to raise awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and communicate the need for urgent action.
The first one departed for London (LHR) on Tuesday 2nd November and a second will operate to Mauritius (MRU) on 5th November, each wearing a different design featuring endangered wildlife.
The decal on the first flight featured six endangered species, while the second flight will feature a decal with rhinos and elephants. Both designs cover the world’s largest passenger aircraft almost from nose to tail, spreading over the wings and under-belly of the plane.
Approximately 40% of the surface area of the A380 will be covered by the decal. The larger of the two designs span over 42.5 metres in length and 6.2 metres in width, and weighs 70kg. Entirely designed, produced, and applied by Emirates’ in-house staff, both of these are the largest decals the airline has put on any aircraft, to date and took a team of 28 people 2.5 days to apply the decals on one A380, or approximately 900 man hours per aircraft.
“We welcome the efforts and commitment made by Emirates Airline to combat the illegal wildlife trade. This is more than just an environmental issue. The illegal wildlife trade is now recognized as a serious and organised transnational crime,"Lord Hague of Richmond, Chair of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce said.
"It drives corruption, is linked to money laundering and can damage economic development in many of the world’s poorest countries and communities. It will take a concerted effort, involving not only effective deterrents against poaching and smuggling, and vigilance in policing and punishing these crimes, but also efforts to increase consumer education to cut demand to protect these animals for the future."ALSO CHECK OUT: Emirates to launch world's longest flight route + 20 longest direct routes across the globe
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said, “Many animals, in particular African elephants, rhinos, tigers, and pangolins, are under extreme pressure because of an unprecedented spike in the illegal wildlife trade. The world is in a global poaching crisis, and everyone has to do their part to stop this, before it is too late. Emirates believes that the global transport industry, including airlines, can play a significant role to break the supply chain of illegal wildlife trade. And at Emirates, we are committing the resources to do our part.”
In May 2015 Emirates became one of the first airlines to refused to transport hunting trophies.
Consumers too, can contribute in a big way, by boycotting products made from the parts of these endangered animals and discouraging others from doing so.